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Elusive Effects of Unemployment on Happiness

  • Petri Böckerman


  • Pekka Ilmakunnas

This paper explores the connection between unemployment and subjective well-being in Finland by using cross-sections for the years 1990, 1996 and 2000 from World Values Surveys. An unprecedented increase in the national unemployment rate (from 3 to 17 per cent) did not produce a drop in the mean level of subjective well-being. Experiencing unemployment personally reduces life satisfaction, but does not have a significant effect on happiness in ordered logit estimation. However, generalized ordered logit estimation reveals that being unemployed has a negative effect on happiness at lower happiness scores, but no significant effect at high happiness levels.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 79 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 159-169

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:79:y:2006:i:1:p:159-169
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Yannis Georgellis, 2002. "Unemployment Alters the Set-Point for Life Satisfaction," Public Policy Discussion Papers 02-16, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  2. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  3. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  4. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  5. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  7. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
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